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Inspection Panel’s Report on Amaravati Project only Validates the Issues Raised by CSOs

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Inspection Panel’s Report on Amaravati Project only Validates the Issues Raised by CSOs

July 26, 2019: Confirming the concerns raised by the communities and civil society organisations, Government of India withdrew its request from the World Bank for financing Amaravati Capital City Project to save itself from an investigation by Bank’s accountability mechanism – the Inspection Panel. It was confirmed by the report– dated March 23, 2019 – released by the Panel on July 23, 2019. An investigation into the project would have brought to the fore the monumental violations of Bank’s policies vis-à-vis social and environmental, as was in the case of Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) dam and Tata Mundra projects in the past. This confirms that Government of India is aware of and want to hide the violations due to the irresponsible execution of the project.

In its final report, which was published on July 23, 2019, Inspection Panel, while noticing multiple violations and lapses in the World Bank-funded project, had stressed for the need to have detailed investigation.

WGonIFIS, a collective of over 90 people’s movements and civil society organisations from across India, demand that the Government of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh immediately conduct an independent review of the Amaravati Capital City project to look into the socio-economic damage, land transactions and psychological trauma witnessed by agricultural, coastal, and pastoral labourers, tenants, landless families, and the most vulnerable communities due to the land acquisition and displacement process.

An independent enquiry and prompt action on the findings will deliver justice to people who otherwise, with the Bank management, central and state governments and the investigating agency Inspection Panel have conveniently washed off their hands, the affected communities are yet to receive justice and strong response to their call for accountability.

Summary of the Panel’s report:

The Inspection Panel, which visited the Amaravati Capital City site to “carry out an investigation into the alleged issues of harm and related potential noncompliance with livelihood restoration requirements of the Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy,” had submitted its ‘Third Report and  Recommendation  on India:  Amaravati Sustainable  Infrastructure  and Institutional  Development Project’  to the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank on March 29, 2019.

The Panel in its report pointed economic displacement; uncertainties regarding livelihood restoration of both landless labourers and landowners; lack of specificity of Project documents; strong assertions of the complainants and Bank Management; timeliness of implementation of Master plan; immediate assistance to the most vulnerable families; and lack of cohesive data and methodology of independent assessment and third party monitoring report.

The Panel observed, “It is important that people not only have access to temporary jobs but obtain more long-term income-generating opportunities to ensure livelihood restoration, which is the ultimate objective of the Bank’s involuntary resettlement policy”. The Panel also expressed concerns about the delay in addressing the needs of 21,374 landless labourer households, who lost their source of income about four years ago.

Recognising that the Land Pooling Scheme at this scale has never been implemented anywhere in the world and that this may be established as a model for similar initiatives in future, the Panel emphasised the need to investigate the harms. Though the Management asserted that LPS farmers have received adequate compensation, the Panel questioned whether it is possible to establish with certainty that the compensation meets replacement value and noted that the affected landowners will bear the ultimate financial risk.

The documents of Bank’s Management on the exact implementation of the livelihood restoration lacked specificity. The Panel also noted that the Project documents do not refer to a labour market analysis assessing future jobs that will be created in the new city and the skills necessary to match these jobs. The Panel observed “about 45 per cent of Project Affected Persons within the footprint of the Bank-financed roads are illiterate, and many have farmed their whole lives. Therefore, they may lack financial literacy, as well as business and investment know-how, to successfully avail themselves of this alternative.” Moreover, the Panel stressed that the larger concern of drastic ‘imposed’ social change during the lifestyle transition from rural, farm-based livelihoods to urban non-farming livelihood inherently involves a high risk of impoverishment.

While the Panel acknowledged that the implementation of the Bank Project has not yet started, the Panel remarked that the design of the Project is based on government activities and the welfare schemes that are already under implementation and have encountered certain challenges. And, these challenges may continue under Bank Project implementation.

Though the complainants, activists, peoples’ groups and CSOs had always raised other larger issues of this flawed project – namely lack of consultation and participation of affected people, multi-crop fertile lands getting converted to urban concrete jungles, food security issues, and most importantly coercion and intimidation by the previous government and the police, and at many instances by landlords too – all of these are shelved aside in the Panel’s report explaining the rectifying actions and project design by the Bank Management.

As the World Bank is no longer financing the project, the Panel updated its report and withdrew its recommendation to investigate the project. However, it is noteworthy that the Panel’s reports majorly relies on three reports: World Bank’s Independent Assessment on Land Pooling; Crisil’s note on Land Pooling Scheme for Development of Amaravati; and the Third-Party monitoring report of Vasavya Mahila Mandal, an NGO which deals with the grievance redressal mechanism of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). Despite multiple requests for accessing the reports, these reports have not been made public.

About the Project: 

After bifurcation of the erstwhile Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, both the new states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh decided to share Hyderabad as capital for ten years. In September 2014, N Chandrababu Naidu, the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh announced Amaravati as the proposed capital city, to be developed over many years. The World Bank and AIIB were under consideration to finance the USD 715 million project.

Even in its risk assessment, World Bank had assigned this Project category A, signifying the social and environmental impacts. The project was criticised for building the city on the floodplains of river Krishna, diverting fertile farmlands and forests, displacing around 20,000 families, forcefully acquiring lands, and favouring contractors for the construction of the city. A complaint with the Inspection panel (Independent accountability mechanism) of the World Bank has been filed by the affected community in 2017 to investigate the project for violation of the World Bank’s safeguard policies. This complaint was under process, and the Board of the Bank was waiting for the recommendation on the eligibility of investigation from the Inspection Panel.

For more info: Encroachment of Nature, People and Livelihoods: A Case of the Abusive, Greedy and Failing Amaravati Capital City (2014-2019)

More information about the project also available here.

Contact details:

  1. Tani Alex
    Centre for Financial Accountability
    +91 96500 15701
    tani@cenfa.org
  2. Ankit Agrawal
    Working Group on IFIs
    +91 95603 61801
    wgonifis@gmail.com

विश्व बैंक के बाद, एशियन इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर इन्वेस्टमेंट बैंक ने अपना निवेश अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना से वापस लिया

प्रेस रिलीज | २३ जुलाई २०१९

विश्व बैंक के बाद, एशियन इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर इन्वेस्टमेंट बैंक ने अपना निवेश अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना से वापस लिया 

चीन के नेतृत्व वाले एशियन इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर इन्वेस्टमेंट बैंक (AIIB) ने आंध्र प्रदेश के अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना से हाथ खींच लिए है। विश्व बैंक द्वारा पिछले सप्ताह अमरावती परियोजना से अपना निवेश वापस लेने के बाद इसके प्रवक्ता लॉरेल ओस्टफील्ड द्वारा यह निर्णय एक समाचार एजेंसी को संप्रेषित किया गया।

एआईआईबी कुल $715 मिलियन की परियोजना में से $200 मिलियन के वित्तपोषण पर विचार कर रहा था, जबकि विश्व बैंक $ 300 मिलियन पर विचार कर रहा था।

चार साल पुराने एआईआईबी ने इससे पहले कभी भी किसी परियोजना से अपना निवेश वापस नहीं लिया है।

समाचार एजेंसी रॉयटर्स ने लॉरेल ओस्टफील्ड के द्वारा कहा, “एआईआईबी अब फंडिंग के लिए अमरावती सस्टेनेबल इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर एंड इंस्टीट्यूशनल डेवलपमेंट प्रोजेक्ट पर विचार नहीं कर रहा है।” एआईआईबी इस परियोजना को केवल एक सह-वित्तदाता के रूप में देख रहा था और इसमें विश्व बैंक की सुरक्षा नीतियों का पालन करना था। विश्वबैंक केपरियोजना से बाहर निकलने के फैसले के बाद, एआईआईबी के इस फैसले पर गहरी निगाह रखी जा रही थी।

इस परियोजना के कारण हुए भूमि अधिग्रहण और विस्थापन के गंभीर दबाव और भय के कारण हुए सामाजिक-आर्थिक नुकसान से हज़ारोंमजदूरों, किरायेदारों, भूमिहीन परिवारों, एवं दलितों समुदाय के लोगों को नुक़सान पहुँचा है। इन मुद्दों के साथ ही परियोजना की वित्तीय गैर-व्यवहार्यता और स्वैच्छिक भूमि-पूलिंग के नाम पर उपजाऊ भूमि के बड़े पैमाने पर हुए कब्जे को जनांदलोंऔर नागरिक समाज संगठनों ने सरकार, एआईआईबी व विश्व बैंक के समक्ष कई बार  उठाया गया।

वर्किंग ग्रुप ऑन इंटरनेशनल फाइनेंशियल इंस्टीट्यूशंस (WGonIFI) और अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी प्रोजेक्ट के प्रभावित समुदाय एआईआईबी केइस फैसले का स्वागत करते हैं और इसे उन लोगों की जीत के रूप में मानते हैंजो प्रशासन के भय और दबाव एवं वित्तीय संस्थानों की उपेक्षा के बावजूद अपने हक के लिए खड़े रहे।

“जैसा कि हमने नर्मदा बांध परियोजना के मामले में देखा है, किसी भी परियोजना मे विश्व बैंक का वित्तपोषण अन्य द्विपक्षीय और बहुपक्षिय एजेंसियों को भी साथ ले आता है जिनमे से प्रत्येक स्वतंत्र रूप से बिना उचित वैधानिक प्रक्रिया के काम करते है। वित्तीय संस्थानों और तंत्रों के बीच यह गठजोड़ मजबूत हो रहा है और जैसा कि हमने अमरावती परियोजना के मामले में देखा है, लोगो की एकजुटता एवं वैज्ञानिक तथ्य ही उन्हें झुका सकते हैं,” नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन एवं नेशनल एलियान्स आफ पीपलस मूवमेंट की वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता मेधा पाटकर ने कहा।

विश्व बैंक ने दूसरे दिन एक बयान जारी कर कहा था कि यह भारत सरकार ही थी जिसने उधार देने के अनुरोध को वापस ले लिया, जो की याद दिलाता है कि 1992 में सरदार सरोवर (नर्मदा) बांध के मामले में भी सरकार ने 27 साल पहले यही किया था। मोर्स कमेटी द्वारा सरदार सरोवर परियोजना पर एक गंभीर रिपोर्ट के बाद विश्व बैंक ने जोर देकर कहा था कि भारत सरकार को पुनर्वास एवं और पर्यावरण सुरक्षा उपायों की सख्त शर्तों को पूरा करना होगा। बैंक ने यह जांचने के लिए एक टीम को भारत भेजा ताकि शेष $170 मिलियन ऋण का भुगतान करने से पहले यह देख सके कि इन शर्तों को पूरा किया गया है या नहीं। समय सीमा से ठीक एक दिन पहले – 31 मार्च, 1992 – को बैंक ने घोषणा की कि भारत ने अपने दम सरदार सरोवर परियोजना का निर्माण कार्य पूरा करने का फैसला किया है।

अमरावती के मामले में, विश्व बैंक की स्वतंत्र जवाबदेही तंत्र के निरीक्षण पैनल को अमरावती परियोजना की जांच पर अपना निर्णय देने के एक हफ़्ते पहले भारत सरकार ने अपना अनुरोध वापस ले लिया था।

“विश्व बैंक के बाद अब एआईआईबी ने इस परियोजना से हाथ खींच लिया,यह लोगो की एक बड़ी कामयाबी है। भारत सरकार द्वारा बैंक से अनुरोध वापस लेने की तकनीकी केवल एक झांसा है। चंद्रबाबू नायडू की सरकार मे विश्व बैंकके निरीक्षण पैनल द्वारा एक संभावित जांच से कई उल्लंघन एवं किसानों पर हुए ज़ुल्म और अन्याय का खुलासा हुआ होगा,”आर्थिक और सामाजिक अध्ययन केंद्र, हैदराबाद के प्रोफेसर रामचंद्रैयाने कहा।

बड़ी संख्या में लोगों के आंदोलनों, विशेषज्ञों और नागरिक समाज संगठनों की एकजुटता और समर्थन के बिना यह जीत संभव नहीं थी। “दो बड़े वित्तीय दिग्गजों का इस पर्यावरण और सामाजिक रूप से विनाशकारी परियोजना से बाहर निकलना – लोगों, नागरिक, समाज, संगठनों एवं  कार्यकर्ताओं के लिए एक बड़ी जीत है जो पिछले चार वर्षों से विभिन्न मंचों पर इस परियोजना को लगातार चुनौती दे रहे हैं। इन वित्तीय संस्थानों को यह महसूस करने का समय आ गया है कि अगर ये संस्थान विनाशकारी परियोजनाओं को अलोकतांत्रिक और अन्यायपूर्ण तरीके से वित्त देने के पालन जारी रखेंगे तो लोग उनके खिलाफ सामूहिक आवाज उठाएंगे, और जीतेंगे,” अनुराधा मुंशी, सेंटर फॉर फाइनेंसियल अकाउंटेबिलिटी।

WGonIFIs राज्य सरकार से मांग करता है कि,

  1. केंद्रीय भूमि अधिग्रहण और पुनर्वास कानून, 2013के विसंगत CRDA भूमि अधिग्रहण अधिनियम, CRDA प्राधिकरण और संबंधित अधिसूचना को खारिज किया जाए और अमरावती राजधानी क्षेत्रके सभी प्रभावितों के मामले में केंद्रीय कानून को पूर्ण रूप से लागू किया जाए। इसके साथ सरकार द्वारा बिना सहमति ली गई सभी जमीन को वापस लोगों को दिया जाए।
  2. किसानों, तटीय समुदायों, खेतिहर मजदूरों, बटायेदारों, भूमिहीन परिवारों, जिनको जमीन अधिग्रहण और विस्थापन के दौरान अत्यंत पीड़ा और भय-व्याप्त समय से गुजरना पड़ा, उनको हुए सामाजिक-आर्थिक नुकसान, जमीन के मामले और मानसिक प्रताड़ना की न्यायिक जांच की जाए।
  3. पिछले पांच वर्षों में सामाजिक जीवन को पहुंचे नुकसान को देखते हुए दलित और दूसरे निर्दिष्ट भू-मालिकों के लिए विशेष मुआवजे की घोषणा की जाए।
  4. राजधानी क्षेत्र की घोषणा के बाद सक्रिय हुए दलालों, जो दलितों और निर्दिष्ट भू-मालिकों की जमीन खरीदने की प्रक्रिया में शामिल थे, के ऊपर सख्त कार्यवाही की जाए।
  5. दलित किसानों को दस्तावेजों में धांधली कर उन्हें बेदखल करने की कोशिशों को रोका जाए और सभी दलित किसानों को, जिनका जमीन पर वास्तविक कब्ज़ा है, उन्हें 2013 के कानून अनुसार मुआवजा, पुनर्स्थापन और पुनर्वास के लिए वास्तविक भू-मालिक माना जाए।

परियोजना के बारे में:
जून, 2014 में पूर्व के आंध्र प्रदेश राज्य के बँटवारे के बाद, दोनों राज्य, तेलंगाना और आंध्र प्रदेश ने हैदराबाद को राजधानी के रूप में अगले 10 वर्षों तक रखने का फैसला किया। उसी वर्ष सितम्बर में चंद्रबाबू नायडू, आंध्र प्रदेश के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री, ने अमरावती को नए राजधानी शहर के रूप में बनाने की घोषणा की। विश्व बैंक और AIIB, इस परियोजना के लिए $715 मिलियन वित्त प्रदान करने पर विचार कर रही थी।

इसके प्रभाव आंकलन में भी इसके सामाजिक और पर्यावरणीय प्रभावों को देखते हुए विश्व बैंक ने इस परियोजना को A केटेगरी प्रदान की थी । कृष्णा नदी घाटी के ऊपर बनाए जाने के लिए, उपजाऊ खेती की भूमि और जंगलों के विनाश, 20000 से अधिक परिवारों को विस्थापित करने, जबरन भूमि अधिग्रहण, और शहर निर्माण में मनचाहे ठेकेदारों को ठेका देने के कारण यह परियोजना बेहद विवादित रही है। 2017 में विश्व बैंक के जवाबदेही तंत्र के ‘इंस्पेक्शन पैनल’ में प्रभावितों ने शिकायत की और विश्व बैंक के नियमों के उल्लंघनों की जांच के लिए कहा। यह शिकायत अभी प्रक्रिया में थी और बैंक की बोर्ड, इंस्पेक्शन पैनल द्वारा इसकी जांच करने के लिए प्रस्ताव का इंतज़ार कर रही थी।

अधिक जानकारी के लिए इस लिंक पर जायें: Encroachment of Nature, People and Livelihoods: A Case of the Abusive, Greedy and Failing Amaravati Capital City (2014-2019)

परियोजना के बारे में जानकारी यहाँ भी उपलब्ध है। 

संपर्क विवरण:

  1. जी रोहित
    मानवाधिकार मंच, आंध्र प्रदेश
    gutta.rohithbunny@gmail.com
    +91 99852 50777
  2. मीरा संघमित्रा
    नेशनल एलाएंसे ऑफ पीपलस मूवमेंट
    +91 73374 78993
    reachmeeranow@gmail.com
  3. टैनी एलेक्स
    शोधकर्ता, सेंटर फॉर फाइनेंसियल अकाउंटेबिलिटी
    +91 96500 15701
    tani@cenfa.org

After World Bank, AIIB Pulls Out of Amaravati Capital City Project

Press Release | July 23, 2019

After the World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Pulls Out of Amaravati Capital City Project

New Delhi: The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) pulled out of Amaravati Capital City Project in Andhra Pradesh. This decision, communicated by its spokesperson Laurel Ostfield to a news agency, follows the decision of the World Bank – a co-financier of the project – last week to pull out from the project.

AIIB was considering financing $200 mn out of the total $715 mn project while World Bank was considering $300 mn.

Never before did the four-year-old AIIB have to drop a project which they were considering for financing.

The news agency Reuters quoted Laurel Ostfield, “AIIB is no longer considering the Amaravati Sustainable Infrastructure and Institutional Development Project for funding.” AIIB was considering this project only as a co-financier and was to adhere to the World Bank’s safeguard policies in this project. After the Bank’s decision to exit from the project, AIIB’s decision on this was being keenly watched.

The monumental violations resulting out of the socio-economic damages, land transactions affecting thousands of agricultural, coastal, and pastoral labourers, tenants, landless families, dalits who have undergone severe pressure and fear due to the land acquisition and displacement process, financial non-viability, massive land-grabbing of the fertile land in the name of voluntary land-pooling were raised time and again with the government and both AIIB and World Bank by affected communities, people’s movements and civil society organisations.

Working Group on International Financial Institutions (WGonIFIs) and the affected communities of the Amaravati Capital City Project welcome the decision and consider this as a victory of the people who despite intimidation and coercion from the administration, and indifference from financial institutions, stood their ground.

“World Bank funding to any project brings in other bi-lateral and muti-lateral financing agencies without each one of them independently doing due-diligence, as we have seen in the case of the Narmada dam project. This nexus between financial institutions and mechanisms are strengthening, and only people united and scientific facts can make them bow down, as we have seen in the case of Amaravati project,” Medha Patkar, senior activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan and National Alliance of People’s Movements said.

World Bank had issued a statement the other day saying that it was the Government of India which withdrew the request for lending, reminding one of what the government did in the case of Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) dam in 1992, 27 years back. After a scathing report on SSP by Morse Committee, the Bank insisted that the Indian government must meet tough conditions – mostly on R&R and environmental safeguards. The Bank planned to send a team to India to check that the government had fulfilled these conditions before paying the remaining $170 million of the loan. On the day before the deadline – March 31, 1992 – the Bank announced that India had ‘decided to complete construction work on its own’.

In this case, a week before the independent accountability mechanism of World Bank, the Inspection Panel is to deliver its decision on the investigation into the Amaravati project, Government of India withdrew its request.

“AIIB pulling out of the project after World Bank is a great victory for the people. The technicality of Govt of India withdrawing the request from the Bank is only hogwash. A probable investigation by the Inspection Panel would have revealed several violations and methods of coercion and unjust use/deployment of force on the farmers by Chandrababu Naidu’s government,” said Prof. Ramachandraiah, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.

This victory would not have been possible without the solidarity and support of a large number of people’s movements, experts and civil society organisations. “This exit of two big financial giants from this environmentally and socially disastrous project is a victory of people, civil society organisations, activists who have been relentlessly challenging this project at various fora for the past four years. It is time for these financial institutions to realise that people will raise a collective voice against them, and will win if these institutions continue to follow undemocratic and unjust ways to finance disastrous projects,” said Anuradha Munshi, Centre for Financial Accountability.

WGonIFIs reiterates its demand to the State government that it should:

  1. Scrap the CRDA Land Pooling Act, CRDA authorities and notifications passed subsequently, which are inconsistent with the 2013 Central Act and fully implement the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in the case of all the affected people of Amaravati Capital Region. Also, the government should return the plots that were taken involuntarily from the people.
  2. Initiate a Judicial enquiry into the socio-economic damage, land transactions and psychological trauma of agricultural, coastal, and pastoral labourers, tenants, landless families, Dalits who have undergone severe pressure and fear, due to the land acquisition and displacement process.
  3. Announce a Special Compensation Package for Dalits and other assigned landholders as their social life has been damaged to a great extent in the past five years.
  4. Prosecute brokers, real estate agents and other persons who purchased or facilitated the purchase of assigned lands after the announcement of Capital Region.
  5. Stop attempts to de-list dalit farmers from records through dubious documentary manipulation and consider all dalit cultivators in possession of the land as the original owners of the land for purposes of compensation and R&R under the 2013 Act.

About the Project: 

After bifurcation of the erstwhile Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, both the new states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh decided to share Hyderabad as capital for ten years. In September 2014, N Chandrababu Naidu, the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh announced Amaravati as the proposed capital city, to be developed over many years. The World Bank and AIIB were under consideration to finance the USD 715 million project.

Even in its risk assessment, World Bank had assigned this Project category A, signifying the social and environmental impacts. The project was criticised for building the city on the floodplains of river Krishna, diverting fertile farmlands and forests, displacing around 20,000 families, forcefully acquiring lands, and favouring contractors for the construction of the city. A complaint with the Inspection panel (Independent accountability mechanism) of the World Bank has been filed by the affected community in 2017 to investigate the project for violation of the World Bank’s safeguard policies. This complaint was under process, and the Board of the Bank was waiting for the recommendation on the eligibility of investigation from the Inspection Panel.

For more info: Encroachment of Nature, People and Livelihoods: A Case of the Abusive, Greedy and Failing Amaravati Capital City (2014-2019)

More information about the project also available here.

Contact details:

  1. G. Rohith
    Human Rights Forum, Andhra Pradesh
    gutta.rohithbunny@gmail.com
    +91 99852 50777
  2. Meera Sanghamitra
    National Convenor, National Alliance of People’s Movements
    +91 73374 78993
    reachmeeranow@gmail.com
  3. Tani Alex
    Researcher, Centre for Financial Accountability
    +91 96500 15701
    tani@cenfa.org

विश्व बैंक ने अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना से हाथ खींचा, लोगों को मिली बड़ी सफ़लता

विश्व बैंक ने अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना से हाथ खींचा,

लोगों को मिली बड़ी सफ़लता

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति | 20 जुलाई, 2019

एक बड़े ऐतिहासिक कदम, जिसका प्रभाव कई स्तर पर देखने को मिलेगा, उठाते हुए कल विश्व बैंक ने आंध्र प्रदेश के अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना में $300 मिलियन का क़र्ज़ देने से इनकार कर दिया। 

इस फैसले का वर्किंग ग्रुप ऑन इंटरनेशनल फाइनेंसियल इंस्टिट्यूशन (WGonIFIs) और परियोजना से प्रभावित समुदायों ने जोरदार सराहना की। पिछले कुछ वर्षों से कई जन आंदोलनों और नागरिक संगठनों से आपत्ति प्राप्त करने और बैंक के जवाबदेही तंत्र ‘इंस्पेक्शन पैनल’ को प्रभावित समुदायों द्वारा मिले शिकायतों के बाद बैंक ने यह फैसला लिया है। 

इस फैसले पर मेधा पाटकर, नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन और जन आंदोलनों का राष्ट्रीय समन्वय (NAPM) की वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता, ने कहा कि हमें खुशी है कि विश्व बैंक ने अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना में शामिल व्यापक उल्लंघनों का संज्ञान लिया। यह परियोजना लोगों की आजीविका और वातावरण के लिए एक बड़ा खतरा रही  है। नर्मदा और टाटा मुंद्रा के बाद, यह विश्व बैंक समूह के खिलाफ लोगों की तीसरी बड़ी जीत है। हमें खुशी है कि नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन के संघर्ष के कारण बनाए गए ‘इंस्पेक्शन पैनल’ ने यहां अपनी महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाई। आज जब हम लोगों के संघर्ष और उनकी जीत का जश्न मना रहे हैं, वो लोग जो राज्य की धमकियों और आतंक के खिलाफ खड़े रहते है, तब हम सरकार और वित्तीय संस्थानों को भी चेतावनी देते हुए बताना चाहते हैं कि बिना लोगों की सहमति के अपने एजेंडे को आगे ना बढ़ाये।

2014 में जब अमरावती कैपिटल सिटी परियोजना की संकल्पना की गई, तभी से पर्यावरण विशेषज्ञों, नागरिक संगठनों और जन आंदोलनों ने परियोजना में सामाजिक और पर्यावरणीय कानूनों के गंभीर उल्लंघन, वित्तीय अस्थिरता, स्वैच्छिक भूमि-पूलिंग के नाम पर उपजाऊ भूमि के बड़े पैमाने पर जबरन कब्ज़ा होने का विरोध दर्ज किया | इन विरोधों और लोगों की आवाज़ दबाने के लिए शिकायतकर्ताओं को पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री द्वारा खुली धमकी दी जाती रही थी।

कैपिटल रीजन फार्मर्स फेडरेशन के मल्लेला शेषगिरी राव ने कहा, “हमारी जमीन और आजीविका के ऊपर अनिश्चितता के बादल मंडराने लगे थे। इस डर और चिंता ने हमारी आँखों से नींद छीन ली थी। इस संघर्ष ने हमारे जीवन में ऐसी जगह बना ली है जिसे हम कभी भूल नहीं सकते हैं। हमें यह पूरी उम्मीद है कि विश्व बैंक के इस परियोजना से बाहर निकलने से राज्य और अन्य देनदारों को एक बड़ा संदेश जाएगा और वो ईमानदारी और प्रतिबद्धता के साथ लोगों की चिंताओं का संज्ञान लेंगे।“

परियोजना से जुड़े एक अन्य सह-वित्तदाता एशियन इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर इन्वेस्टमेंट बैंक (एआईआईबी) ने खुद को प्रसिद्द पेरिस एग्रीमेंट के बाद के समय में उभरते बैंक के रूप में पेश करते हुए जाहिर किया है कि वह जलवायु परिवर्तन और इसके संकटों से निपटने के लिए प्रतिबद्ध है। लेकिन अभी भी यह परियोजना उनके आधिकारिक दस्तावेजों में विचाराधीन परियोजना के रूप में मौजूद है और दस्तावेज के मुताबिक़ एआईआईबी को इस परियोजना में केवल एक सह-वित्तदाता के रूप में दर्ज किया गया है। जिसका इस्तेमाल कर के एआईआईबी ने इस परियोजना में विश्व बैंक की नीतियों का उपयोग किया है, लेकिन अब विश्व बैंक के इस परियोजना से बाहर आने के बाद एआईआईबी की सह-वित्तदाता के रूप में स्थिति अस्पष्ट है।

“एक अच्छे बदलाव के लिए, सकारात्मक सोच ने बैंक को इस विनाशकारी कार्यक्रम से हटने के निर्णय लेने पर विवश किया। यह हमारे रुख को भी स्पष्ट करता है, कि पेरिस एग्रीमेंट के बाद उभरने वाले बैंक की बयानबाज़ी के बावजूद, एशियन इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर इन्वेस्टमेंट बैंक (AIIB), जो इस परियोजना में एक सह-वित्तपोषक है, अब और विश्व बैंक के पीछे छिप नहीं सकता है, जो अब तक वह एक सह- वित्तदाता के रूप में बताकर कर रहा था।”, एनजीओ फोरम ऑन एडीबी के अंतर्राष्ट्रीय समिति और एन्विरोनिक्स ट्रस्ट के डायरेक्टर, श्रीधर आर ने कहा।

सेंटर फ़ॉर फ़ाइनेंशियल अकाउंटिबिलिटी कि  टैनी एलेक्स  ने कहा, “यह जन शक्ति का एक और उदाहरण है जो विश्व बैंक जैसी संस्थानों को भी लोगों के आपत्तियों की जवाबदेह बनने पर मजबूर करता है। जब परियोजना से प्रभावित लोग अपनी आवाज़ पर बुलंद और मजबूती से खड़े थे, उसी समय कई अन्य संगठनों ने समर्थन में उनके मुद्दे और आवाजों को उचित जगहों तक पहुंचाया। यह न्याय एवं जवाबदेही ले लिए लड़ रहे लोगों और उनके मजबूत मांगों की जीत है।”

WGonIFIs राज्य सरकार से मांग करता है कि,

  1. केंद्रीय भूमि अधिग्रहण और पुनर्वास कानून, 2013 के विपरीत भाव वाली CRDA भूमि अधिग्रहण अधिनियम, CRDA प्राधिकरण और संबंधित अधिसूचना को खारिज किया जाए और अमरावती कैपिटल रीजन के सभी प्रभावितों के मामले में केंद्रीय कानून को पूर्ण रूप से लागू किया जाए। इसके साथ सरकार द्वारा बिना सहमति लिए गए सभी जमीन को वापस लोगों को दिया जाए।
  2. किसानों, तटीय समुदायों, खेतिहर मजदूरों, बटायेदारों, भूमिहीन परिवारों, जिनको जमीन अधिग्रहण और विस्थापन के दौरान अत्यंत पीड़ा और भय व्याप्त समय से गुजरना पड़ा, उनके   सामाजिक-आर्थिक नुकसान, जमीन के मामले और मानसिक प्रताड़ना की न्यायिक जांच की जाए।
  3. पिछले पांच वर्षों में सामाजिक जीवन को पहुंचे नुकसान को देखते हुए दलित और दूसरे निर्दिष्ट भू-मालिकों के लिए विशेष मुआवजे की घोषणा की जाए।
  4. कैपिटल रीजन की घोषणा के बाद सक्रिय हुए दलालों, जो दलितों और निर्दिष्ट भू-मालिकों की जमीन खरीदने और उसकी प्रक्रिया में शामिल थे, के ऊपर सख्त कार्यवाही की जाए।
  5. दलित किसानों को दस्तावेजों में धांधली कर उन्हें बेदखल करने की कोशिशों को रोका जाए और सभी दलित किसानों को, जिनका जमीन पर वास्तविक कब्ज़ा है, उन्हें 2013 के कानून अनुसार मुआवजा, पुनर्स्थापन और पुनर्वास के लिए वास्तविक भू-मालिक माना जाए।

 

 

परियोजना के बारे में:

जून, 2014 में पूर्व के आंध्र प्रदेश राज्य के बँटवारे के बाद, दोनों राज्य, तेलंगाना और आंध्र प्रदेश ने हैदराबाद को राजधानी के रूप में अगले 10 वर्षों तक रखने का फैसला किया। उसी वर्ष सितम्बर में चंद्रबाबू नायडू, आंध्र प्रदेश के पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री, ने अमरावती को नए राजधानी शहर के रूप में बनाने की घोषणा की। विश्व बैंक और AIIB, इस परियोजना के लिए $715 मिलियन वित्त प्रदान करने पर विचार कर रही थी।इसके प्रभाव आंकलन में भी इसके सामाजिक और पर्यावरणीय प्रभावों को देखते हुए विश्व बैंक ने इस परियोजना को A केटेगरी प्रदान की थी । कृष्णा नदी घाटी के ऊपर बनाए जाने के लिए, उपजाऊ खेती की भूमि और जंगलों के विनाश, 20000 से अधिक परिवारों को विस्थापित करने, जबरन भूमि अधिग्रहण, और शहर निर्माण में मनचाहे ठेकेदारों को ठेका देने के कारण यह परियोजना बेहद विवादित रही है। 2017 में विश्व बैंक के जवाबदेही तंत्र के ‘इंस्पेक्शन पैनल’ में प्रभावितों ने शिकायत की और विश्व बैंक के नियमों के उल्लंघनों की जांच के लिए कहा। यह शिकायत अभी प्रक्रिया में थी और बैंक की बोर्ड, इंस्पेक्शन पैनल द्वारा इसकी जांच करने के लिए प्रस्ताव का इंतज़ार कर रही थी।

अधिक जानकारी के लिए इस लिंक पर जायें:  Encroachment of Nature, People and Livelihoods: A Case of the Abusive, Greedy and Failing Amaravati Capital City (2014-2019)

संपर्क:

  1. गुट्टा रोहित
    Human Rights Forum, Andhra Pradesh
    gutta.rohithbunny@gmail.com
    +91 99852 50777
  2. मीरा संघमित्रा
    National Convenor, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
    +91 73374 78993
    meeracomposes@gmail.com
  3. टैनी अलेक्स
    Researcher, Centre for Financial Accountability
    +91 96500 15701
    tani@cenfa.org

World Bank Pulls Out of Amaravati Capital City Project: A Major Victory to People, Activists Say

For Immediate Release

World Bank Pulls Out of Amaravati Capital City Project: A Major Victory to People, Activists Say

July 18, 2019: In a significant move, which will have repercussions at multiple levels, yesterday the World Bank has decided to pull out of the $300 million lending to the Amaravati Capital City project in Andhra Pradesh.

Working Group on International Financial Institutions (WGonIFIs) and the affected communities of the Amaravati Capital City Project welcome the decision. The Bank arrived at this decision after a series of representations it received from many people’s movements and civil society organisations over the past years, and a complaint to its accountability mechanism, Inspection Panel, by the affected communities.

We are happy that World Bank took cognisance of the gross violations involved in the Amaravati Capital City project, threatening the livelihood of people and fragile environment. After Narmada and Tata Mundra, this is the third major victory against the World Bank Group. We are happy that the Inspection Panel which was created due to the struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan played its critical role here. While we celebrate this victory of people, who stood up to the intimidation and terror of the state, we warn the government and financial institutions not to push their agenda without the consent of the people” said Medha Patkar, senior activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan and National Alliance of People’s Movements.

Ever since the Amaravati Capital City Project was conceptualised in 2014, environmental experts, civil society organisations and grassroots movements have expressed their anguish over the grave  violations of the social and environmental laws, financial unviability, massive land-grabbing of the fertile land in the garb of voluntary land-pooling, open threats to the complainants by none other than the then Chief Minister, along with  concerns of losing fertile farmlands and livelihoods.

Mallela Sheshagiri Rao from the Capital Region Farmers Federation said, “With uncertainty hovering above us in respect to our land and livelihood, we had suffered sleepless nights with fear and pain. The struggle has made a mark in our lives that we can never forget. We hope the larger message of World Bank’s pulling out of this project will be heard by the state and other financiers and will address the concerns of people with honesty and commitment.”

Another co-financier of the project Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), projected themselves as the Post-Paris Bank, signalling the commitment to tackle climate emergency, is in focus now. While the project is still listed under consideration in their official documents, having entered in this project only as a co-financier and AIIB used World Bank’s policies to adhere to in this project, as a co-financier, the status of the AIIB now is unclear, with World Bank pulling out.

“For a change, good sense has prevailed upon the Bank to withdraw from the disastrous programme.  This also vindicates our stance that despite its rhetoric of a Post-Paris Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which is a co-financer in the project, can no longer hide behind the World Bank which it has been doing as a co-financier,” said Sreedhar R, Chair, International Committee, NGO Forum on ADB and Director, Environics Trust.

Tani Alex of Centre for Financial Accountability said, “This is another instance of people’s power forcing institutions like World Bank responsive to their concerns. While the people affected by the project stood a firm ground, support and solidarity from a number of other organisations amplified their concerns at appropriate forums. This is a victory of people and their unnerving demands for accountability and justice.”

WGonIFIs demand the State government should:

  1. Scrap the CRDA Land Pooling Act, CRDA authorities and notifications passed subsequently, which are inconsistent with the 2013 Central Act and fully implement the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013 in the case of all the affected people of Amaravati Capital Region. Also, the government should return the plots that were taken involuntarily from the people.
  2. Initiate a Judicial enquiry into the socio-economic damage, land transactions and psychological trauma of agricultural, coastal, and pastoral labourers, tenants, landless families, Dalits who have undergone severe pressure and fear, due to the land acquisition and displacement process.
  3. Announce a Special Compensation Package for Dalits and other assigned landholders as their social life has been damaged to a great extent in the past five years.
  4. Prosecute brokers, real estate agents and other persons who purchased or facilitated the purchase of assigned lands after the announcement of Capital Region.
  5. Stop attempts to de-list dalit farmers from records through dubious documentary manipulation and consider all dalit cultivators in possession of the land as the original owners of the land for purposes of compensation and R&R under the 2013 Act.

About the Project:

After bifurcation of the erstwhile Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, both the new states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh decided to share Hyderabad as capital for 10 years. In September 2014, N Chandrababu Naidu, the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh announced Amaravati as the proposed capital city, to be developed over many years. The World Bank and AIIB were under consideration to finance the USD 715 million project.

Even in its risk assessment, World Bank had assigned this Project category A, signifying the social and environmental impacts. The project was criticised for building the city on the floodplains of river Krishna, diverting fertile farmlands and forests, displacing around 20,000 families, forcefully acquiring lands, and favouring contractors for the construction of the city. A complaint with the Inspection panel (Independent accountability mechanism) of the World Bank has been filed by the affected community in 2017 to investigate the project for violation of the World Bank’s safeguard policies. This complaint was under process and the Board of the Bank was waiting for the recommendation on the eligibility of investigation from the Inspection Panel.

For more information:  Encroachment of Nature, People and Livelihoods: A Case of the Abusive, Greedy and Failing Amaravati Capital City (2014-2019)

Contact details:

  1. Gutta Rohit
    Human Rights Forum, Andhra Pradesh
    gutta.rohithbunny@gmail.com
    +91 99852 50777
  2. Meera Sanghamitra
    National Convenor, National Alliance of People’s Movements
    +91 73374 78993
    reachmeeranow@gmail.com
  3. Tani Alex
    Researcher, Centre for Financial Accountability
    +91 96500 15701
    tani@cenfa.org

 

Humanity Absent from World’s most Acclaimed Development Report

By Tani Alex

The World Development Report (WDR) is the World Bank’s development research and policy review report published annually. Started by IBRD since 1978, this report is intended to provide deep and extensive analysis on one particular aspect of economic development, every year. The solutions and policy messages brought out in this report is widely scrutinised by researchers, policy makers, governments and civil society since this ‘flagship’ report is supposedly the Bank’s highly prized research contribution to the development world. Heavy research budgets, far-reaching dissemination and the legitimacy of ‘World Bank’ publication make this a cherished one for the Bank. Few of the previous years’ reports focused on education, health, environment, risk management, poverty, the role of the state, youth, agriculture, equity and public services delivery.

Quick Glimpse into the development of WDR 2019

The World Development Report 2019: Changing Nature of Work (WDR 2019) examines the changing nature of work and firms, laying emphasis on the impact of technology and digital innovation on the current global economy.

But what made this report a highly talked about one in the recent debates on development? The Bank’s previous president Jim Yong Kim writes in his foreword that this document shows the transparency of work since it was open to all for modification of drafts, almost every week online. And then, there were more than a million downloads even before halfway its publication which also made it the most downloaded report in 2018. Another occasion to note is that its preparatory phase was delayed by the Bank’s then chief economist Paul Romer’s resignation[he was the first director of WDR 2019], over his controversial remarks on the direct correlation between the political leanings of the staff and annual rankings of countries in Ease of Doing Business process of the Bank. Subsequently, the work was taken over by Simeon Djankov, who is the Founding Director of the much sought-after, yet much criticised, Doing Business Reports. Yet another highlight of this report was the introduction of Human Capital Index [The human capital project examined in WDR 2019 will be explained in another section of this article], again contested, where countries will be now ranked annually in terms of a child attaining optimum productivity after having attained education and full health from birth till 18 years of age.

Paradoxical Messages of WDR 2019

But above all, this report faces strong criticism for its two pertinent direct messages – deregulation of businesses and shifting obligations of firms/employers for social protection of workers/employees to the shoulders of the State. Few voices have come out globally carefully analysing the nuances of various explanations given by the Bank to establish the context for its suggestions for the future of work for the evolving economy.

It is true that the report has failed to give a rounded, well-thought critique on the actual challenges faced by workers in the accelerated transformation of the world of work.  To put it short, critically speaking, this report is inherently characterised on anti-worker perspective. The deregulatory solution brought out in this report parrots almost all the editions of Doing Business Reports since 2003 promoting private sector development and having influenced watering down of many regulatory policies across countries to facilitate rapid entry and development of the business.

This was eagerly executed by governments because labour regulations policies allegedly stifled exciting investments and swift economic growth. It is ironical that the same Bank, in its WDR 2013: Jobs, after extensive review on the link between labour regulation and employment [following a massive hue and cry from few governments, labour movements and ILO], had stated that this ‘link’ was non-existent. This obviously shows WDR 2019 disproves the exhaustive findings of WDR 2013!

Moreover, the Bank, during its previous Annual Meetings at Bali during October 2018 had introduced its new Environmental and Social Framework, where respect for workers’ rights in Bank’s projects was entered as Labour Safeguards [ESS2– Labour and Working Conditions]. Not less than two weeks later after the much appreciation for Bank’s new safeguard policy, came WDR 2019 in direct and stark contrasting opinions. This is highly contradictory and problematic from the Bank’s side sending two conflicting messages in two separate yet distinguished policy publications.

Story Line of WDR 2019The world of work is progressing rapidly with technological and digital innovations including robots and Artificial Intelligence. Stable jobs are giving way to Gig- jobs and digital market places paved the way for platform market places and superstar firms. “Innovation will continue to accelerate” and there are growing chances, as already seen in many countries, that automation would replace the low-skilled redundant labour. Hence the jobs remaining outside automation would require highly skilled work-force that would have exceptional cognitive skills [logic, reasoning, critical thinking], socio-behavioural skills [teamwork, resilience, confidence, leadership] and skills of predictive adaptability [‘an individual now can have not many jobs but different careers in one lifetime’].

In order to feed into this need for a productive workforce, education and health must be critical for every child [starting from birth, especially until 5 years of age] and adult [adult learning outside the school and tertiary education. Therefore, the bank’s new Human Capital Project and Human Capital Index examines closely at this aspect of development and will recommend policy actions through country strategies. And what about those who fail to fall in the ‘formal’ and productive workforce, namely the informal workers? Well, they will be given social assistance [various forms of UBI, negative tax], social insurance and State will protect them with basic minimum, and if possible reskilling and upskilling initiatives would be undertaken].

All said, the gap of finances which then the State is faced with can be covered by mobilizing tax revenue – by imposing VAT, excise tax on tobacco, alcohol, sugar, etc. and by expanding the tax coverage base, along with further strengthening of global efforts of OECD and G-20 to agree together on preventing tax erosion and profit-shifting through tax havens.

And thereafter, to accommodate all these policy changes, there should be political incentives for governments through new social contracts for the State to protect all, whether they are formal or informal workers, whether they are employed or unemployed and wherein the returns to work for the State is also guaranteed.

It finally follows that the goal of social inclusion is achieved thus. Well, aren’t we all made happy and all looks rosy!

A Few Disquieting Specifics from WDR 2019

Apart from the disguising semantics of WDR 2019’s storyline, here is a list of important suggested possibilities of what might not be well with a large number of us globally, if its recommended policy actions are adopted by governments:

  1. Minimum wages, which ensured fair returns to workers against exploitation of employers, shall be reduced – employers are free to reduce the wages to the bare minimum.
  2. You and I can be fired from work at will. Because we pose structural rigidity to firms.
  3. Employers will be made free from providing workers’ protection rights (imagine how this would read for those who work in occupationally hazardous environments especially and already for those working as independent contractors and gig-workers who juggle multiple careers who do not fall under the regular labour category)
  4. Already data is given in the report of advanced economies enjoying the productivity of robots, while the employment growth has been steady and has not been affected. But how can these be ideated with that of situations in poor and low-middle income countries?
  5. Workers are expensive if labour rights and protection are implemented in every firm, hence do away with labour regulations! [Shake hands with the similar recommendations of Doing Business Reports!]
  6. The present Bismarckian model of social security scheme based on workers’ and employers’ voluntary contribution will be changed since they do not include the informal workers who are 2/3rdof developing country population.
  7. The informality of works worldwide poses a huge problem of workers not being able to be adapted to the past faced requirements of the transforming economy. Majority of us will be jobless unless we keep on learning if we are adults. No mention of senior citizens in the report.
  8. Digital marketplaces, to read accurately, ‘intangible marketplaces’ get away with not having to pay taxes and profit-shifting. So, let the governments finance their basic social welfare schemes and assistance by expanding the tax base and increasing regressive VAT. Imagine how a poor or developing nation would suffer from the burden of it – the ordinary man’s wages go into his daily sustenance and will not have savings, and then he needs to pay VAT over what he consumes for his survival!
  9. Various forms of Universal Basic Income [UBI] are recommended.
  10. Rich will get richer, poor will be increasingly poorer (seems the Gini coefficient hasn’t moved altogether for some time)

Other General Global Concerns with WDR 2019

The following broad critique has been collated and arranged from all the sources given in this article, hyperlinked at various instances.

  1. Lack of significant research data
  2. Selective data and evidence presentation
  3. Casual handling of the subject with sweeping generalizations
  4. Central assertions of the document [except maybe a little in the Building Human Capital and Lifelong learning] are devoid of solid and reliable data and genuine analysis.
  5. The Bank has perhaps allowed right-wing ideologies to trickle down into their research reports.
  6. While stressing the need to acknowledge the rise of platform markets and independent contractors, legal protection and safeguards for the emerging distinct labour force [who have also met serious resistance while campaigning for their rights like Uber Drivers] have not been addressed.
  7. Pro-business and superstar firms agenda
  8. Growing inequality of economies inadequately discussed
  9. “Disregarding history, blinkered to indigenous protests, pretending there’s a peaceful pathway to all things good”

Longstanding observers of WDR over many years has recognised the emerging pattern of the Bank to move away from their adopting best practices to better learning by doing exercises. And that the Bank has been engaging in wider politics for better acceptance of their policy recommendations, including the “elite interests and ideologies; addressing collective action problems; building support for reform…legitimising a wider consensus”, for “pro-poor experimentation.”

The report has not just suggested eliminating the responsibility of social protection from the private sector and superstar firms, but altogether failed to address and recall the need of commitment from advanced nations to contribute in global development, by limiting the scope of the report to just low and middle-income economy experiments and discussions.

Much disappointing and worse is the fact that, here, human beings are pitted as human capital only, to be tailor-made for ‘productivity’. In the impatient race for economic growth and capital, the creativity of humanity, the plight of less privileged and marginalised, the ever-present resistances of people’s groups and movements, declining natural resources and accommodating other living beings, much less…the essence of life and living itself is non-existent in this ‘development’ report.

Symposium on India’s Engagements and Experiences with Accountability Mechanisms of Multilateral Development Banks

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The Inspection Panel is completing 25 years in its role, as an accountability mechanism of the World Bank. As you are aware, the Bank’s failure to comply with its operating policies was seen by the entire world in the Bank’s financing with the Sardar Sarovar Dam project on River Narmada. The tenacity of massive grass-roots uprisings from our communities in the 80’s and the sustained hard work of our social movements along with our resoluteness to link it with international coalitions to question the hegemony of the Bank, subsequently led the Bank, for the first time, to commission an independent review of its project. The Independent Review Committee (Morse Committee) constituted by the Bank in 1991 to review the social and environmental costs and benefits of the dam, after years of consistent struggle by Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) and its allies led to a demand from the civil society around the globe for the creation of a grievance redressal system for project-affected communities, which ultimately pressurized the Bank to constitute the Inspection Panel in 1993. We expected this might be a crucial backstop and an opportunity for us to raise our issues of livelihoods, economic loss, displacement from our lands, alienation from natural resources, destruction of environment and threat to our biodiversity and cultural hotspots, where Bank invested in large, supposedly ‘development’ projects like mega dams, energy and other infrastructure projects. Yet, the outcome we expected rarely delivered sufficient remedy for the harm and losses people have experienced over the years.

A number of accountability mechanisms over the next couple of decades in several development finance institutions were formed following the model of World Bank, commonly known as ‘Independent Accountability Mechanisms’[IAMs]. Each year the number of complaints rise which is an indication of the increasing number of grievous projects happening around the world. While IAMs of most MDBs are advertised to provide strong and just processes, many of our experiences imply that the banks are accommodating practices which suit their own needs and their clients, which are borrowing countries and agencies, and not the people for whom the IAMs were built to serve.

Many a time, we have been disappointed by these mechanisms, since these are designed by the banks who are lending for disastrous projects in our lands. And as a result, the already existing narrow mandate of IAMs is further restricted.

In our efforts to hold the lending bank accountable, the communities are always presented with the arduous process of learning the complex formalities and detailed procedures to initially approach the IAMs and get our grievances registered. Our many years’ time and energy then is channelised into seeing through the various cycles of these complaint handling mechanisms, that our entire efforts go into this process, and often our complaint gets dropped off in midst of the procedural rules of the IAMs. People are made to wait many months to clear procedural levels and our cases with the IAMs get highly unpredictable. Further, we face intimidation and reprisals from the state and project agencies for having contacted the IAMs who themselves do not possess any authority to address the violations hurled out to us when we seek dignity, fair treatment and justice from them. There are many of us who feel a loss of morale after long years of struggling with lenders when we fail to see concrete benefits or changes in our circumstances, by which time considerable irreplaceable harm is already done to our lives, environment and livelihoods.

In this manner, our immediate and larger goal of holding banks for their failure to consult with and obtain consent from communities before devising action plans for our lands, water and forests is deflected in the pretext of problem-solving and grievance hearing offered to us in the name of IAMs.

With over 50 registered complaints sent to different IAMS from India in the past 25 years, many more left unregistered due to technical reasons and only a few got investigated, assessed and monitored at different levels, we have a baggage of mixed experiences with the IAMs. A few of the prominent cases from India apart from Narmada project are Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project [WB’s IP], Tata Mega Ultra-01/Mundra and Anjar [IFC’s CAO & ADB’s CRP], India Infrastructure Fund-01/Dhenkanal District [IFC’s CAO], Allain Duhangan Hydro Power Limited-01/Himachal Pradesh [IFC’s CAO] and Mumbai Urban Transport Project (2009) [WB’s IP].

As we now know, what is being witnessed recently is an influx of approved and proposed investments majorly in energy, transport, steel, roads, urban projects, bullet trains, industrial zones/corridors, smart cities, water privatization and other mega projects in India. This has been financed from different multilateral and bilateral sources, foreign corporations, private banks as well as Export-Import Banks (ExIm Banks). It has become a brutal challenge for communities, social movements and CSOs, with lenders and governments constantly shutting their eyes and ears to us who demand accountability for their actions. A compelling and timely need has arisen among diverse groups amongst us to gather together and critically analyze the various trajectories of our engagements with accountability mechanisms of MDBs in order to bring together past 25 years’ learning, insights and reflections of various actors of this accountability process. This urging demand is also an attempt to define the collective experiences in India among our social movements, projected-affected communities and CSOs with IAMs and lending banks, especially appropriating the global political opportunity of Inspection Panel celebrating its 25 years this year.

The schedule and list of speakers will be shared soon.